My Interesting Caribbean Vacation

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Our Vacation

It's actually hard to call anything a Vacation when you are retired so I should have said, "Our Trip". Anyway this was to the Caribbean but it wasn't a normal Caribbean Island. This was a private Island off Saint Vincent. The Island is about 2 miles long and a mile wide. You really need to be invited there and there is a background check but a very few "normal" people can go also.

Our Daughter and Grand kids arrived there a week before us and were going to meet us at the airport. We flew to Saint Lucia on a real plane then had to take a small puddle jumper to this Island called Mustique. At the Saint Lucia airport we were guided to this "terminal" which was a tiny room with room for about 12 people. The plane holds 16. I heard a lawn mower engine but it was our plane and at first I thought it was a replica of Amelia Earhart’s plane, but I really think it was "actually" her plane that she crashed in the pacific 70 years ago.

The cabin was about 4' high so you had to crouch down to get in it and had tiny seats that were modified to fit pygmies. But you could steady yourself by putting a hand on each side of the cabin as you crawled inside as this gentleman is doing.

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A flight crew man came out and pulled the rope, the engine started right up. The pilot let off on the clutch and we started to move.

There were two "pilots" but I think one of them was a veterinarian on the side. We taxied down the runway, faster and faster until we reached about 40 mph and actually took off. The propellor was about 2" outside my window, which was open. It didn't matter because I figured this plane wasn't presurized anyway. We got up to cruising altitude very quickly because cruizing altitude was about 36'. As we flew, we cleared almost all of the waves and sail boat masts. It was a little un-nerving when the pilot on the left was trying to move the lever above him and was having trouble, then the other pilot had to grab his hand and both of them had to keep hitting the lever quite hard to move it. I am not a pilot so I don’t know if that was for the wing flaps, landing gear or coffee machine.

After 20 minutes or so we started our decent. 40', 30' 20' etc until we hit the ground a little harder than I would have liked.

We taxied up about 50 yards and could see this big sign that read "GATE 1". That seemed a little overkill being there was only one gate. It wasn't actually a gate but a 3' wooden picket fence next to a small wooden building. There was a sign on the building that read "JAGGER and BALDASSANO". My name is Baldassano and you know who Jagger is.

We cleared "Customs" and went outside. There wasn't exactly an outside because it is always warm there so everything is outside. I see our Daughter waiting outside the "fence" and she is acting a little funny. She kept saying "How was your trip" while motioning her head to the side so we should look. Of course it was Mick Jagger. His family was on the plane with us and he came to pick them up. He loaded his ATV and I loaded ours. I am not a big male rocker fan, preferring females but it was interesting. He was wearing Island clothes and a hat like everyone else on the Island.

Anyway we drove to the house where our family was staying on the beach. It was almost the nicest looking place I have ever seen and I think I have been in more places than most people, partly because I am old. (But Mick Jagger is older than me).

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(that is my Son N Law in the water as the beaches are totally empty and that is the beach for their house there)

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We stayed there for the day then went to the home we were going to spend the next 8 days, up on the mountain. On the way up we saw dozens of red footed tortuses . They are about a foot long and virtually all over the place

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It was a long trip so I will continue this later.

In the meantime you can find out about this Island here.
https://www.gq.com/story/mustique-travel-guide
 
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On the drive up the mountain, more of a hill, I spotted a tortoise. I wanted to stop and put him back off the road but then I spotted another, and another. They are very common there and it would be a waste of time to move them all. The roads are very bad and not “really” paved although there is some cement looking stuff that they are made out of. There are also speed bumps and dips all over the place so even if the road allowed you to drive faster, you couldn’t because of the bumps. There are also no straight roads and you can barely squeeze two of these “vehicles” past one another and most times one of you has to stop.

We pass a Villa called “Shogun” which of course was a Japanese theme and all built out of huge Bamboo imported from Japan. The place is so big that it takes a while to drive past it.

Our Villa is next. It's called Paradiso. We turn up the driveway and drive on quite a distance to the main house. I wouldn’t call it a house exactly because it was as big as a Home Depot on a lot, Not really a lot, maybe a tropical square mile or two. I never found out how large the property is but being on a large hill or small mountain you get vistas of the calm Caribbean on one side and the Rough Atlantic on the other side. We had two ATVs so we could go anywhere and by anywhere I mean the entire two miles of the Island.

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The Staff came out to greet us and carry in the bags. We had an awesome Island Lady Chef, a butler and a cleaning girl who cleans the place and washes and irons your clothes every day and gives them back to you the same day.

Gen, the Chef would cook you anything you could pronounce including making the pasta from scratch and all the deserts from fresh fruits grown on St, Vincent. You paid for the food and told her what you wanted, or as we did and just said “Surprise us” which she did every day for three meals. She was a fantastic Chef and I thought she was trained in New York or Paris but she learned right there..

We had some meals on one of the deserted private beaches where no one else was there except us and one of the 4 or 5 Gazebo’s on the property that all face the sea.

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You also ordered any type of liquor you drank and they made any drink for you that you can imagine. If you had time, there was also a pool room and a gym.


Anyway, I love tortoises and I get up very early before sunrise and search for them. They are not hard to find and walk right up on the patio. One morning I figured I would feed one a banana. When I was a kid I always had 5 or 6 tortoises as well as my fish and turtles and I would feed them bananas.

I found a large tortoise just outside our bedroom munching on grass so I bent down and put a piece of banana in front of him. Of course he immediately went back in his shell pulling his feet in also. So I stepped back a little and waited. And waited, and waited, etc. Eventually, he started inching his head out. When I say inching I really mean milimetering. S l o w l y he started to come out. My family started to gather around the breakfast table waiting for the meal. But I waited. I am very patient and was determined to feed this guy a banana which he has never seen before but I thought it would be a nice change from grass, I mean, like really if you ate grass all your life and someone put a sirloin steak in front of you, if you weren’t a vegan, wouldn’t you at least take a bite!

He finally had his head almost all the way out and I hear my wife “YOUR EGGS ARE HERE”. But I was not wavering in my quest.

He stared at the banana and I thought I saw his mouth water. He picked his head up and bent his neck down, opened his mouth very wide, stared intently at the banana, started to lower his head……..And closed his mouth. It was only a yawn. Then I started to yawn because that is catchy.

OK, that was close. Now he looked really hungry and he again lowered his head. His nose was just touching the banana. He s l o w l y moved his head along the banana slightly bobbing his head up and down. He reached the left side of the banana and paused. My wife yells “YOUR EGGS ARE GETTING COLD”. While bobbing his head like his neck needed oil he s l o w l y moved his head to the right side of the banana all the while filling his nostrils with banana. He then lifted his head and I knew this was it. He s l o w l y brought his head down on the banana, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.

“I AM EATING YOUR EGGS”. After what felt like an eternity, I tapped him on the shell. He immediately didn’t do anything. But after a few minutes, he stirred. His head started to go up, his eyes opened, he even lifted a foot to wipe some banana off his nose and he again stared at the banana which was now starting to get brown and attract flies.

“WE WILL MEET YOU AT THE POOL”.

He lifted his head and I didn’t know if he was going to yawn or go back to sleep, but he surprised me and quickly moved his head down (when I say quickly I mean in my lifetime) opened his mouth wide, I fully expected him to burp, pass gas or puke but he buried his head in the banana. He came away with a mouthful of mush and I could swear he smiled. I didn’t wait until he totally finished the banana because I figured the banana would germinate and grow into a tree by then so I met my family at the pool and decided to let the tortoises eat grass from now on
 
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I forgot to mention when we were waiting for that little plane to get off the ground I glanced at the safety pamphlet in the seat in front of me. It read, "If you see smoke or flames coming from under the wing, inform the pilot". I also read the safety equipment that comes with the plane. The "safety equipment" was a tent and sleeping bag. You can't make this stuff up.
 
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The first night there my wife and I had that entire place to ourselves. We stayed mostly in the pool, then drove around to the beautiful beaches none of which had anyone on them except tortoises. We ate like we were in heaven because the chef will prepare just about anything you can imagine including desserts and the butler, Mack will tell you the places to go and what to do. It is not a tourist Island, which is great so there is just one restaurant that we can’t afford and don’t want to go to anyway with the chef we had. He told us about this beach where the sea turtles come to at night to feed on algae. I didn’t see any of those turtles because we didn’t have time to go there at night but I did see a lot of them on our dive which I will get into later.
This is our "living room" which you could easily fit 100 people and not be crowded. We normally ate at those tables outside all the way to the back.

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Our Daughter and Grand Kids met us there the next day and we were invited to this Island party at a famous place on the beach. There are only two party places on the Island and almost everyone goes there. This was the Cotton House. We go in and I go to the bar to get my wife a drink. Everything is free as the Mustique Company pays for everything. The Island is owned by all millionaires and billionaires and they formed the Mystique Company and all have a vote in how the Island is run. The airport is purposely small so the celebrities can’t bring their personal Jets there. Mick Jagger was one of the first to buy a home there and Princes Margaret was one of the first inhabitants. Bergdorf Goodman’s family also own a home there.

I am waiting for my drink and look to my right and see this beautiful Lady. She looked familiar but I was sure I didn’t know anyone there. She was Kelly Ripa. I don’t watch her show but if you go to a Doctor’s office, that is the show they have on. She is very pretty and makes a nice appearance but very skinny. I don’t think I have ever met a person so thin. I got her a drink and we chatted for most of the night. Then she invited me on her show to talk about my book. Oh Wait!........That was in my mind. Actually she got her own drink and walked back to her husband.

Everyone there was famous for something but I am not up on my celebrity names so it all eluded me. Before we went to the Island my Daughter cautioned me not to ask anyone what they did for a living, but I forgot. My Daughter and husband were talking to a couple outside on lounge chairs so we went over to join them. (That couple’s Daughter goes to school with my Grand Daughter which is how she knows them and how we came to be invited to the Island) She introduced me to them and she was very pretty but he looked like a homeless guy so I figured I could make small talk to him. I said, “So what do you do when you are not here”?

I thought maybe he parked cars or washed dishes. Wrong! He was a very famous film producer and director who has made many movies like Steven Speriburg and directs all the time, his wife was a famous artist who has works hanging in the Louvre. I didn’t think it was a good time to bring out pictures of my Steam Punk stuff. My Daughter was giving me the eye, you know, the “Eye.”

She reminded me later to not ask questions like that. What do I know! I thought I was an artist but apparently, I am not as famous as I figured.
 
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The view from that place is unbelievable. Water all around and all you hear is the surf and birds with the occasional tortoise moving through the leaves.
The pool had a waterfall and could fit fifty people but it was only us. Really a nice vacation. The fact that mortals can't afford it is the part that makes it so nice. No tourists and no crowds. It was the opposite of crowds which is great for me coming from New York.

We were very lucky to have been able to go there. I just paid for the airfare for my wife and I and that was about $6,000.00. Forget about the place.
 
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Wow this sounds amazing Paul - cant wait to read about your dive and what you saw :m106:
 

RiaanP

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The place is so amazing, sure this is no April Fools thing, you did start this thread on April 1.

Anyway, I'm jealous.
 
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Here is a U Tube video of the place we had to ourselves and two of those people were our staff.

And some other link with stills and prices for different seasons. I can't afford it at all and I am fairly sure not many here can either. Like I said Our Daughter and Son N Law took us and I only paid for our air fare.

http://paradiso-mustique.com/reservations.html
 

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yip... that's more than what my wallet can stretch

Still jealous...
 
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I did one dive there with our Daughter which I will get into. It wasn't that exciting so I may add a Great White Shark, Orca or hippopotamus due to creative license.
 
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At the last party we went to , Mick Jagger was there but he didn't dance. Kelly Ripa did a lot of dancing. Next to the party place is the "Fish Market". My family had a fish market so I wanted to see what they had. The fishing boat, comes in right next to the place and it was filled with conch. As a matter of fact conch is their main catch and almost their only catch. Those and lobsters. There are conch shells all over the Island bordering houses and piled up in hills. The "fisherman" SCUBA dive for them and I did see some on my dive. I can't believe there are so many of them in this place that they can take so many every day. They were boiling them in a huge kettle like you would see in a Disney movie over a wood fire. The kettle was precariously perched on some rocks and the guy cooking them looked like a conch himself.
There were a few fish laying in the market or in the sun but they had no ice, just flies and it didn't look very appetizing. The local people buy from there, the guests and homeowners get their food shipped in every day on a ship.

Our next to last day I wanted to go diving with my Daughter as I rarely go anywhere with her where I can dive. She has only dove 5 or 6 times and we were flying out the next day so we did the shallow dive which was fine with me. Me and her were the only ones on the dive which is my kind of diving. I don't like diving with a bunch of tourists but sometimes, in the tropics it is unavoidable.

Our Daughter is very scared of barracuda and sharks and if she sees one she gets behind me and points at my head so the shark eats me first.
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Once we went on a dive together and there was this huge barracuda which was bigger than her and it came right up to my face to show me his broken teeth. The guy was very old and probably senile. My Daughter was petrified and held on to my tank. She had to do that for quite a while because it was a decompression dive so we had to make friends with this fish for a long time. His name was Elvis.

But here on this dive the biggest thing was me. Most of the Caribbean is void of large fish and sharks now. But the diving here was very nice. The corals were in great shape and the "Coral Restoration Foundation" who I met in Key Largo a few years ago had some coral trees there that they were growing so they could "plant" them there.

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This is how they grow them before they re seed the sea with them. We seen a bunch of these
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In between the healthy corals was a lot of seaweed.

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There were also quite a few turtles there but they were much smaller than I am used to seeing. Quite a few rays also.
 
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Last week we were invited back to Mustique for 7 days. Our closest friends came with us as they are also our SCUBA buddies and next door neighbors.
We went there on the same tiny puddle jumper plane we went on last time.



I could tell it was the same plane because I was in the last seat. (it only holds 18 people) Behind me was the bathroom which was basically a cardboard cat food box with adult diapers in it.
The windows were open but if you stuck your hand out, the propeller would cut it off. We also cruised at the same altitude so I am glad this time I remembered to bring along my fishing pole that I used to troll out the back.


We stayed at a different house this time. It was a 5 bedroom on our own private beach but it was just the four of us. We had a staff of three including a Chef.
This was our deck where we ate.



We also had the entire lagoon. I can't tell you whose houses are on the other side, but everyone knows them. This was one of our snorkling beaches

 
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Of course I had to take some pictures of the most boring fish, tangs. They just follow the one in front of them going Doot Da Do, Doot Da Doot waiting for one to poop so they can all poop or eat, so they can all poop again. I can't believe people keep these things an they are by far the most common fish.



At least these guys have a personality and the added cool benefit that they can poison other fish or even arrows. As we entered our little plane, the Air marshal was dipping his arrows in a spotted box fish liver. The rest of it we had for lunch.

Oh I forgot, in the seat back of the plane was a little card that said to inform the pilot if you saw flames coming out of one of the engines. There was a cartoon picture of a guy looking at a fire with his eyes popping out. On the back of the card was the safety equipment that consisted of a raft and a shovel. You can't make this stuff up.

This is our two pools on our lagoon.



This beach, like the others, not one person was loaded with tons of the nicest looking live rock I have ever seen



We didn't realize that she was coming but our Supermodel Daughter surprised us and popped in for a few days. She doesn't mind me calling her a Supermodel nor does my wife. I know that is not PC and some people don't like that for some reason. But I only have to please my family,no one else. :p



That guy is my friend who came with us.
 
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In the Caribbean, where I really find the diving as boring as watching paint dry there are very few sharks. I am not sure why but maybe the sight of tangs just puts them to sleep. If you do see a shark there, it is probably senile and looking for an angelfish to administer last rites.:disillusionment:

Years ago, I mean like Noah's time there were a lot of sharks. The first time I dove in Tahiti I was amazed. The guy on the boat said you have to time your jump off the boat in between the sharks so you don't jump on them. They also hate that. There were so many of them that I was surprised there were any fish left, but there are.

Then when you get down, the sharks, which are in schools of like 20 just hang out with you. Those are black fin reef sharks and don't bother you and hardly eat anyone, especially Liberals, which seems to give them gas. :indecisiveness:

In the southern ocean you can see very clearly down to the bottom even at 120' deep and as you get deeper you encounter the Lemon sharks which are much bigger than the black tips. I think they get bigger from all the lemons they eat. :lemo: The black tips stay away from them.

Then the manta rays come in and they are like wall to wall carpets. They come so close to you that they have to lift their fin to pass you. I would love to have a baby of them in my nano. :rolleyes3:

When I first started diving, here in New York where the visibility is measured in inches I thought the knife was for if you saw a shark, you cut your throat. Here, if you want to see your watch, you have to put it inside your mask and we always dove with one of those "blind person sticks". You spend the last part of your dive cutting your way out of fishing line which is tangled all over the rocks.

Once I was lobster diving with my dive buddy here and we found ourselves up against a solid wall. (you have to swim into the current here because when you stop, you get engulfed in the cloud of mud you just stirred up as we don't really swim here, it is more like a snail crawl on the bottom where the lobsters are)

The mud covered us and we tried to go over it. But there was a "roof". We tried to turn around, but there wasn't enough room. Eventually we backed out.
We later found out we swam into the boiler of a ship that sunk in 1902 which was carrying dates (we didn't find any).

This New York diving is Man's diving and not Sissy, Girly man diving like in the tropics. If you have a lot of experience diving in the tropics, it doesn't count at all as experience here. :huh: Everything has to be done in the dark and night diving actually has much better visibility because you can see farther in the beam of light.

But if you are looking through your beam of light and a shark head comes into view facing you and his head is too big to completely fit in the beam, get your knife out and remove your wet suit hood so you have clear access to your throat. :eek:

 
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So My friend and I are exploring this private, rocky beach and we come upon this greasy looking stuff. About 10 lbs of it so we both figured it was Ambergris. Ambergris comes out of sperm whales and the whales use it to cover squid beaks so they don't cut them when they poop. (ouch )
The stuff is worth literally more than gold and is used in the perfume industry. I guess if you want to attract whales but I am guessing. Something like $63,000.00 a pound and we had about 10 lbs. So that may be worth $630,000.00.
I started thinking how many copperband butterflies (and Supermodels) I could buy with that and my face was hurting from my smiling. Then we researched further. It said, if you heat up a needle and stick it in ambergris and it makes white smoke and exudes a weird smell, it may be ambergris. So we got a needle and heated it up. Yep, white smoke and it smelled like melted grease.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be melted grease. I don't know how such a big blob of it ended up high on a rock on this pristine beach, but I am not a bazillionaire.

If there is a X there, try clicking on it
 
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This was our car. Thats our Daughter in the back


Here she is flying


My main squeeze and I in the puddle jumper.


In one of our private infinity pools.
 

RiaanP

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That is a nice magnet.

I do have a purple tang, and is a way this Atlantic blue is nicer. The scribbles is what do it for me. But then again, the yellow tail of the purple is just as interesting.
 

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